Kit can lead her ship and clever crew on her own, but with the fate of queen and country at stake, Kit and Rian must learn to trust each other, or else the Isles will fall….
Source: Netgalley via Berkley Books – Thank you so much!
TL;DR: A wild romp that really never stopped
The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neil is going to be a very hard book for me to categorize which, for anyone looking into it, is going to be a repeated refrain. The story is heavily fantastical. A very different historical setting, with an interesting system keeps it very much in the fantastical. But the emphasis on the characters and the interpersonal relationships, including a budding romance, make me want to tentatively class it as romance. That being said there is no on page sex, so I wouldn’t call it a Romantic Fantasy (like a Heart of Blood and Ashes earlier this year). Regardless it’s a lot of fun.
As I stated the setting is world that feels very much like a Post-Napoleonic England, but with a much more diverse and rich cast than you might get from a true historical fiction set in that period. The queen, for example, is of mixed race, and our protagonist is a young female captain in the military. Both things that wouldn’t have happened then. Our male hero is your classic grouchy noble. The story takes place on both land and sea, so don’t go in just expecting naval action.
This was the highlight for me. My main hesitancy with this book was that I don’t always do well with ship/sea mechanics. I find it terribly dull, and it never keeps my attention. Once past the half-way mark though this one barrels through a naval voyage, some possibly feelings and backstory building for our male hero, a couple of spy missions, and lots of sassy dialogue. There is a lot here past the naval setting and that keeps the book rich and interesting.
It was a fun and easy read, not one that had a lot of surprises though. I will continue on as this seems to be a really good light read to keep the spirits up. A great jumping off start for a new series.